Android 15’s Beta Version Hints at NFC-Based Wireless Charging

  • Google might introduce NFC-based wireless charging with the forthcoming Android 15.
  • Even low-end smartphones will be able to charge wirelessly if this feature is introduced in Android 15.

When we hear the term wireless charging, the first thing that comes to mind is a premium smartphone or TWS. However, it seems like Google is about to change this perception with the forthcoming Android 15. Google’s upcoming Android update appears to be laying the groundwork for integrating NFC technology into its wireless charging capabilities.

The folks at the Android Authority have found an NFC charging feature in the code for the recent Android 15 Beta release. Here’s everything you need to know about:

What is NFC, and How is it Used Currently?

NFC stands for Near-Field Communication. It’s a short-range wireless technology commonly used in smartphones and other devices. Here’s how it’s being used nowadays:

  • Contactless payments: NFC allows you to make secure payments by tapping your phone against compatible terminals, similar to using a contactless credit card.
  • Data sharing: People also use it to share data like photos or contacts between smartphones by tapping them together.
  • Device pairing: Some devices also use NFC to pair with wireless headphones and speakers easily.

Democratising Wireless Charging

The question that might arise is, why do we need it since we already have the standard, Qi-based wireless charging tech? The problem with Qi-based wireless charging is that it requires additional hardware and is typically found on higher-end devices. At the same time, the NFC today has become universal in modern smartphones.

If the NFC-based wireless charging tech makes its way to Android 15, then even budget devices will have wireless charging capabilities.

What are the Limitations of NFC-Based Wireless Charging?

However, it’s important to remember that NFC-based wireless charging is not perfect by any means, as it comes with its own set of limitations. Currently, NFC-based wireless charging is limited to just 1W, which is extremely slow compared to the ongoing Qi-based wireless charging solutions of around 15W.

Ideal for Smaller Devices

So, where does NFC charging shine? Its true potential lies in powering smaller devices with lower power requirements. Think about wearables like smartwatches, earbuds, or even styluses. Their smaller form factor often poses a challenge when accommodating the bulkier antennas needed for Qi charging. In contrast, the minuscule size of NFC antennas – typically under 1cm – makes them perfect for seamless integration into these accessories.

However, it’s important to remember that this is not a confirmed feature but something the search giant is testing. This means there’s a strong possibility that we won’t see this feature in the official Android 15 launch. We will get more clarity about Android 15 and the NFC-based wireless charging at Google I/O 2024, which will take place on May 14th.